Sneaky - posted on 09/30/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )
So a friend at work obviously really needed to talk last night and just dumped everything on me - he wants to leave his 23 year old partner of five years and take his one year old son with him because he is just sick and tired of doing everything by himself. Before everyone rushes in to judge him please let me go through the details I know! So his partner obviously has postnatal depression and EVERYONE knows it including her. She is a stay at home mum and she says she feels 'trapped' (even though she has her own car and can go out during the day, she also has her parents and his parents that constantly offer to take the baby for the day and she always says no), she is on disability because of hip dyspepsia (which I know HURTS a lot) and she just recently applied to do early childhood training and was rejected. She has (had?) lots of friends but refuses to go out and see them.
My friend is at his wits end. He keeps asking her to go to the doctor and she says that she 'can't be bothered', he is disgusted by her at times because she can't be bothered showering and brushing her teeth (he has to make her do it), and of course he is doing all the child care for his son, house work and cooking for the three of them with out any help or support from her. Plus he is working at nights. He has talked to her parents about the situation and (seriously, I am NOT making this up!) they told him: 'you are the one with her, it's YOUR problem'.
He told me flat out that he is at his wits end and all he wants to do was take his son and leave her. All I could do was point out that if he left her then either a) she would fall further into depression and possibly become a suicide risk or b) it might be the kick in the pants that she needs to ask for help. Both outcomes he has already considered of course, which is why he is still with her. I am totally at a loss, I want to give him advice but I have none :o(
I have had some mild post natal depression with my last baby (she is just four months old) so I have a slight idea what she is going through and how she is just physically and mentally incapable of operating right now, but my most serious concern if for his baby boy. Do you know how many times I have read on this website that a happy mum = happy baby? Countless and I have even said it myself in some posts. He can't be a happy bub with a dis-attached mother and I can tell you from experience - my mother had severe post natal depression with both me and my brother. I am 33 years old now and I still wonder why she had children at all when we apparently wrecked her life, I feel that is she had loved us she would have gotten help for her mental problems instead of making my live with them and if you want to talk about un-socialized children and teenagers I was one because we never went anywhere - no playgroup, no play dates we were just cooped up at home all day everyday. I was also an 'out-of-control' toddler and a 'holy little terror'. Why? Because my mother stayed in bed or on the couch all day and I could do what ever I wanted without supervision all day.
As I said, I do not want judgments about my friend and his feelings, I do not want judgment about my feelings what I would LOVE is advice about what I can do best to support my friend and potentially help his partner. If anyone out there has had severe postnatal depression can you tell me what was the turning point for you? Is there light at the end of the tunnel for my friend and his family?